As you might already know, over 80% of Obus products are made in Australia (the majority of them right here in Melbourne!). Today we introduce you to our designers and production team, and take a tour of one of our local manufacturer’s factories.
. . . . . . .
It starts with considered design
Each Obus collection is designed in collaboration by our founder Kylie, designer Joni and general manager Natalie. At any one time the team could be working on three seasonal collections at once, each at different stages of production.
Kylie’s inimitable prints are always the core of each collection, bolstered by coordinates in unexpected colourways. Depending on the season, the team could be conjuring up styles and silhouettes in light breezy cottons or cosy knitwear.
Kylie, Joni and Nat are concerned not just with creating single-wear items – that concept is wholly against Obus’ philosophy. Instead, they are committed to building wardrobes of pieces that are at once on-trend and timeless in their design aesthetic.
Truthfully, there is a lot of talk about YOU in these meetings – how are you, our lovely customers, wearing our garments? Where are you wearing them, and why? How do we want you to feel when you put them on, and what features do you love that we can include in a new design? Surrounded by fabric swatches, yarn samples, and tons of colour inspiration, the pieces of each collection puzzle come together slowly but surely at these meetings, before being passed on to our production team and makers.
Remie, one of our pattern makers, Tamsin our sample machinist and Sam our production assistant take the design team’s ideas and get them closer to a final product design. When making samples, Tamsin records her time spent making a garment, and this helps to ensure bulk manufacturing is costed at a fair wage price.
From 2D sketch to 3D garment
Before we make dozens of an Obus garment, we must first make just one! Our pattern makers Ros and Remie, and sample machinist Tamsin, work in our Northcote studio taking the sketches from our design team and turning them into a three-dimensional garment. Through fittings and some informal ‘wear tests’ (meaning the Obus team wearing samples around the studio to see how they perform in real life!), the design team tweak each design until it feels just right.
Once a garment is perfected, Ros will create garment patterns and Remie will grade them to different sizes, before our production assistant Sam gets these patterns ready to deliver to our makers.
Meet one of our Melbourne makers
Liem, one of our Melbourne-based makers, with a fresh batch of our LOVE AND FURY styles!
Our commitment to manufacturing locally has a been at the heart of Obus since its beginnings 20 years ago. While once-upon-a-time Kylie made many of the garments herself, over the years we have been in the fortunate position to work with other small businesses, primarily in Melbourne, to manufacture our clothing.
The benefits of working with local makers for a business of our size is two-fold.
First, we can keep our order quantities small, so garments are not over-produced (contributing to myriad environmental problems down the track!). Yes, many of our garments sell out quickly when we produce in small quantities, but we think this is actually a good thing. Each one becomes a treasured possession for years to come.
Sam regularly visits our maker Liem’s factory to check in on how things are going with upcoming styles like our WINTER GARDEN print, pictured here (really though, we think she just loves to regularly cuddle Liem’s puppy Luna).
Secondly though – and importantly – by manufacturing locally we have ready and easy access to the working conditions of the people making our clothes. Based in Melbourne’s West, our maker Liem’s small factory is equipped with all the space and resources needed to make small-batch clothing. Timelines for production and delivery of our products are dictated by our makers. This means they can manage production of garments without requiring excessive overtime from their staff, all the while ensuring fair remuneration.
Sam, and our production manager Alison, are in regular contact with Liem and our six other local manufacturers, coordinating everything from fabric delivery to garment details. Whether we go and visit them, or they come to us, they’re a visible part of the Obus family. (One maker regularly brings us donuts, so they are obviously our favourite. Kidding, Liem, kidding!).
Details of Liem’s studio. From our large rolls of fabric, his team seek to maximise the use of the fabric for the style (thereby reducing fabric wastage), before producing and pressing each garment.
Just like our customers support us – a local business – we feel proud that we can support small local businesses as well. We’d like to make everything we produce in Australia, but unfortunately this is not always possible. Why? Tune in tomorrow for information about our overseas manufacturers and the steps we’ve taken to ensure our high ethical standards are upheld when we produce offshore.
Each piece of Obus clothing goes on a long journey before it is worn and loved by you. As part of Fashion Revolution Week 2019, we want to show you who makes our clothes and talk more about what we are doing to champion ethical fashion.
. . . . . . .
A few of the faces behind Obus clothing! Back row L-R: designer Joni, production assistant Sam, photographer Kit, sample machinist Tamsin, patternmaker Remie, marketing manager Tess and founder/creative director Kylie.
First things first – what IS Fashion Revolution Week?
In April 2013, over 1100 garment workers in Bangladesh were killed and a further 2500 injured when a Rana Plaza - a building that housed factories for five of the world's largest clothing brands - collapsed. This tragedy spawned a movement called Fashion Revolution, encouraging supply chain transparency across the global fashion industry and pushing brands toward more humane and environment friendly practices.
On the anniversary of the disaster, Fashion Revolution calls on consumers to ask with confidence ‘Who made my clothes?’; and for fashion brands of all sizes to educate their customers about the people and processes behind their product.
Why we’re taking part
All of us at Obus are passionate about making clothing in a safe, clean and fair way! For founder Kylie Zerbst, this ethos has underpinned the business since its inception 20 years ago.
“Each new collection pushes us to do better environmentally or ethically. We’re committed to providing information about our local and offshore manufacturing processes, and we do this via regular updates to our website and blog” says Kylie. “We love that customers regularly engage with us on this topic, too. Everyone should be able to make an informed choice about the clothing they buy. Beyond sheer aesthetics, we hope that as Obus customers, you can feel great wearing our clothing because it aligns with important social values such as fairness and considered design.”
Our manufacturing information is always available to our customers via a prominent link on every page of our website. We’re not hiding it, and we’re always updating it.
But if you’re anything like us, you love to see pictures, right? Then you’re in for a treat this week. On our blog and across our social media, we’re going to show you around the different aspects of our clothing production process. We’ll introduce you to some people behind the clothes we make; give you a greater understanding of how the Obus piece you love goes from a simple sketch to a beautiful item to treasure; talk about our waste management initiatives; and more.
Last month, we launched our collaboration with BEEHEMIA, a social project spearheaded by an entrepreneurial and big-hearted Melbourne teen making beeswax food wraps out of offcuts of Obus Fabrics. So, how did it go?
. . . . . . .
The response to our collaboration was overwhelming, to say the least! Dahli, her mum Gabrielle, and their team of helpers worked hard to fulfil over 100 orders (while keeping on top of schoolwork, naturally!). Their success is a testament to the power of community in support of numerous good causes, and the experience has left all our hearts warmed!
Thanks to you, our OBUS X BEEHEMIA beeswax wraps flew out the door (bee pun intended!). Together we raised $3892 for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and provided income for new Australians from refugee backgrounds.
If you missed out on your own set of Obus x Beehemia Beeswax Wraps, there are still a few left instore and online. Bee quick ;)
In celebration of International Women's Day, we'd like to introduce you to Dahli - an inspiring young woman who is making an impact as a social entrepreneur via her business Beehemia.
. . . . . . .
Dahli launched Beehemia with a vision to reduce food and packaging waste in her community, as well as support Asylum Seekers through business profits and employment opportunities. (Oh, did we mention she is only in Year 8 at school?)
With the help of her mum, Gabrielle, Dahli and her Beehemia crew hand-make their beeswax wraps using natural ingredients (which smell divine!). While profits are donated to organisations such as the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), the venture also provides employment and skill-building opportunities for new Australians and people seeking asylum here.
Naturally, when we learned about Beehemia, we were 100% on board with supplying Dahli with linen and cotton fabrics in original Obus designs.
The limited edition Obus x Beehemia Food Wraps are now available instore and online. Now, your fresh produce, leftovers, and bring-from-home lunch can wear a little bit of Obus’ GOOD VIBRATIONS, LOTUS and LOW TIDE print too! 100% of profits from our sales of the wraps will be donated to the ASRC.
The future is bright with young women like Dahli driving change and making products that promote sustainability and social good, don't you think?
We're excited to announce a new initiative that aims to close the loop on the lifecycle of our clothing (and help you, too!).
. . . . . . .
We get it. Sometimes you buy something on impulse, outgrow a size, or the time just never feels right to break it out —no matter how much you love it.
Which is why we're excited to announce: Obus Swap Shop.
Your pre-loved garments stay out of landfill, and YOU can pick up some new Obus treasures.
Update 18 March 2019: Thanks all who participated in our SWAP SHOP SALE! All remaining goodies will be for sale at our Obus Market store from 20/3/19. Still have items to bring in? Hold tight - another intake will be scheduled soon! xx Obus
Late last year, we gave you the opportunity to suggest a cause that deserved a $1000 donation from us. Read on to find out what good those dollars are doing now!
. . . . . . .
The recipients of our Festival of Giving $1000 donation was One Girl, a Melbourne-based non-profit who assist girls in East and West Africa to attend school and provide them with life-changing education and resources.
We couldn’t be happier to learn that the donation we made on your behalf has enabled three girls to attend school this year! A result that will not only change their lives, but the lives of their family members and communities.
With a new school year beginning in Australia this week, we thought we’d find out more about the barriers to basic education for girls in Uganda and Sierra Leone, and about the work One Girl do to break them down.
Tell us a bit about One Girl, how it began and its mission.
One Girl started when two young Australians, Chantelle Baxter and David Dixon, were on a research project through East and West Africa. In Uganda, Chantelle met a 14-year-old girl called Brenda. After losing both parents, Brenda was living with her aunt who could no longer afford to send her to school. So, of course, Dave and Chantelle decided to help! It cost $150 to put Brenda back in school – and it was that first $150 investment in just one girl, in Brenda, that inspired the beginning of One Girl.
That was 10 years ago, and since then we’ve supported thousands of girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda with access to life-changing education. One Girl currently runs girl-focused education programs that provide high school scholarships, education in business and entrepreneurial skills, menstrual hygiene management — along with access to sanitary products — and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) education. These four programs are all uniquely designed to combat the barriers that girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda face when accessing education, and they give girls an opportunity to drive their own change and reach their full potential!
What are the barriers to education for the girls you support?
In Sierra Leone, only 16% of girls complete high school. This can be due to a number of factors such as teenage pregnancy, the cost of sending a girl to school, the societal preference to send boys to school whilst girls tend to household duties, or the difficulties girls face attending school when they have their periods. All our programs are designed to help combat those barriers:
Our Scholarships program aims to support girls with everything they need to graduate. One Girl Scholars are supported with school uniforms, school books, textbooks, shoes, a backpack – even lunch money! They also have regular meetings with One Girl focal teachers who support them so they have every opportunity to succeed in school.
Our Business Brains program aims to equip girls and young women with skills in how to begin and run their own businesses – because we want to make sure girls have every opportunity to succeed both in and out of the classroom. As part of Business Brains, we also hold education sessions on career development, life skills, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Our LaunchPad program aims to change the fact that a lot girls don’t attend school when they have their period – 60% of girls in Uganda! This can be due to a lack of menstrual hygiene education, little access to sanitary products, or poor toilet facilities in schools. Enter: the LaunchPad program. This program focuses on education in menstrual hygiene management, supporting young women with access to affordable sanitary products and challenging the stigma attached to menstruation. That’s why also we include boys and men in this program so that the entire community can break down harmful taboos surrounding menstruation.
Our School Awesomisation program has provided students with education in water, sanitation and hygiene and constructed toilet facilities in rural schools in Sierra Leone that either don’t have any, or don’t have enough! We know that when you educate a girl, she will impart her WASH knowledge to her family by promoting healthy habits at school and in the home.
Last year Obus donated $1000 to One Girl on our customer’s behalf. Can you tell us how those funds will be used?
In Sierra Leone, it costs just AU$300 to educate a girl for an entire year. So this incredible donation from Obus is enough to educate three girls! And when you educate a girl, you’re not just changing her life, you’re also changing the lives of her family and community members – that’s the incredible impact Obus will have by supporting the power of education!
Do you have any special memories of the girls One Girl has supported over the years?
Our One Girl Scholars are pretty extraordinary and they constantly inspire us. After not being in school for nearly four years, Bintu* became a One Girl Scholar.
When she was able to begin school again with our help, she said: “School is important because it helps each and every one in order for us to be able to achieve our dreams. I’ll help other people who cannot pay their school fees for themselves. If I am educated, if I have a job, I’ll be able to help them as well. Going back to school has changed my life completely. Completely!”
It’s an amazing dream: to use her education to support others in her community so they too can have the opportunity to fulfil their dreams. One Girl Scholars aren’t just inspiring because of what they’re achieving, but for the change they’re driving within their own families and communities.
What are some other ways to support One Girl and spread your awesome message?
Every year we run Do It In A Dress, a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign that calls on everyone to put on a school dress and raise funds for girls’ education. We’ve seen some pretty incredible things happen in school dresses; we’ve seen people jump out of planes, trek the Camino de Santiago, run marathons or wear school dresses non-stop for a month! And all to raise funds and spread awareness of the importance of girls’ education. To sign up, visit us here.
*Bintu’s name has been changed to protect her identity.
Photo credits: Olivia Acland/One Girl.
With summer in full swing, we're outside and looking for ways to preserve the natural beauty of Australia's beaches, parks, and natural wonders! So today we launch a giveaway that helps keep our oceans clean and free of waste (and gives you a chance to take home your fave Obus piece on us!).
. . . . . . .
Without a doubt, 2018 saw an increased focus on the volume of single-use plastics entering our oceans and waterways. And while we at Obus aim to do our part to create low-impact fashion and accessories, there's always more we can do to reduce pollutants and ensuring waste stays well clear of our waterways.
Take 3 is an Australian not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2009 by surfing enthusiast, Amanda Marechal, marine ecologist, Roberta Dixon-Valk and environmentalist, Tim Silverwood.
Their mission is to actively reduce the amount of plastic and human-made rubbish entering our oceans through a simple message: Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, park, creek, river… or anywhere you find yourself this summer.
As active beach-goers, we love Take 3's ethos and simple, practical message. So at the time of year when many of us are enjoying time at Australia's beautiful coastlines, creeks, rivers and parks, we thought we'd offer an extra incentive to encourage YOU to 'take three'!
WIN A $250 OBUS GIFT VOUCHER WHEN YOU TAKE 3 FOR THE SEA
How to enter:
1. Collect 3 (or more!) pieces of rubbish you've found while at the beach/park or other public space
2. Snap and share a photo to your Instagram or Facebook timeline and don't forget to use the hashtags #obustake3 and #take3forthesea (Instagram), or tag us and Take 3 (Facebook) so we can record your entry
3. Dispose of your found rubbish thoughtfully!
In addition to there being less rubbish polluting our environment, your post will inspire others to think about their impact and responsibility to our planet, and you'll go in the running to WIN a $250 Obus gift voucher. Win, win, win!
- Entrants must follow all entry guidelines to be entered into the giveaway draw.
- One entry = one user post on Facebook & Instagram.
- Giveaway promotion ends 9/1/19.
- Winner chosen at random from valid entries on 10/1/19 and contacted via social media by 12/1/19.
- Prize cannot be returned or redeemed for cash.
- The competition is not endorsed by Facebook or Instagram.
As we celebrated our twentieth year, 2018 saw us create many new prints, and also some reenergised prints from our archives! To farewell the year, we've gathered your favourites of 2O18 and made them digital, so you can decorate your favourite device with a little bit of Obus.
. . . . . . .
HOW TO INSTALL WALLPAPER ON YOUR DEVICE
Scroll to your favourite print below, and click the link to download the file for your preferred device. Once the image loads, save it to your photos app, camera roll or desktop, and follow the steps you'd usually take to make any photo or image your device wallpaper.
Kicking off 2018 with our FOR THE LADIES collection, our beloved AERIAL print was reenergised in a new colour palette. Whimsical and wonderful, its distinctly abstract forms won over your hearts again.
Download AERIAL for phone
Download AERIAL for tablet
Download AERIAL for desktop
Inspired by Kylie's travels through Japan and her interest in modern Ikebana, KADO was a clear favourite during winter's WAY OF FLOWERS collection, thanks to its emotive floral motif.
Download KADO for phone
Download KADO for tablet
Download KADO for desktop
Celebrating the skill and mastery behind our original textile designs, TWO WORLDS was the clear winner amongst the LOVE OBUS: A MODERN HISTORY collection inspired by our print archives. A mashup of floral forms and strong stripes, its retro, sporty vibes really caught your eye.
Download TWO WORLDS for phone
Download TWO WORLDS for tablet
Download TWO WORLDS for desktop
Bringing it home for summer, the native coastal flora featured in our BEACHCOMBER print was the cornerstone of our BETWEEN WIND AND WATER collection, focusing our attention on all the local adventures that can be had at our doorstep.
Download BEACHCOMBER for phone
Download BEACHCOMBER for tablet
Download BEACHCOMBER for desktop
Our store staff work extra hard this time of year bringing the cheer to your Obus visit. We spent a few minutes with these lovely ladies to find out what they are rockin' and loving this Christmas!
. . . . . . .
Alter ego: I take photos, sew, craft and experiment baking vegan treats!
Fave festive tune: It’s gotta be something Michael Buble right?
Fave Xmas tradition: Probably Christmas crackers.. I think sitting around the dinner table, awkwardly sat next to a relative you perhaps don’t know that well, a Christmas cracker always helps to break the ice and everyone has a laugh!
Secret skill: Embroidery! I haven’t done much, but I seem to have a knack for it.
Alter ego: Painter... Well, thinking about painting. Next year will be the year of exhibiting!!
Favourite festive tune: Little Drummer Boy by Boney M. (My mum would play their Christmas album every Christmas, it would drive my brothers and I crazy... Now I play it every year and I totally love it!! So does my daughter.)
Favourite xmas tradition: Having to come up with meaningful gifts that have a cash limit. I love it because it forces you to be creative and thoughtful...
Secret skill: I asked my daughter and she said "You're amazing and cool... ;). And I make a mean green curry !